The Neon Museum Visitors’ Center is located inside the historic La Concha Motel lobby. This distinctive shell-shaped building was designed by acclaimed architect Paul Revere Williams. The curvilinear La Concha Motel lobby is a striking example of Mid-Century modern design characterized by Atomic- and Space Age shapes and motifs. Originally constructed in 1961 on Las Vegas Boulevard South (next to the Riviera Hotel), the La Concha lobby was saved from demolition in 2005 and moved in 2006 to its current location to serve as the Museum’s Visitors’ Center. References to many of the lobby’s original interior design elements have been included in the newly refurbished facility, with two of the motel’s original signs – the mosaic lobby sign and a section of the main roadside sign – restored and illuminated as part of the Museum’s rehabilitation efforts.
Paul Revere Williams was one of the most admired and successful architects of the twentieth century. He was also the first documented African-American member and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Educated in the early 1900s at the Los Angeles atelier of the Beaux Arts Institute of New York, Williams went on to study architectural engineering at the University of Southern California. In addition to the La Concha Motel, his notable commissions included Roosevelt Naval Base (Long Beach, Calif.), Los Angeles County Court House, Guardian Angel Cathedral (Las Vegas), the Beverly Hills Hotel, Saks Fifth Avenue (Beverly Hills), Howard University (Washington, D.C.) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis, Tenn.). He also served on the committee overseeing the Los Angeles airport design.